This has been a lentil kind of winter so far. I’m completely in love with the little bright red lentil — it goes in everything: pasta salads, green salads, soups (and even raw as sprouts — they’re delicious!).
So, when an accident in the kitchen occurred — tomato sauce spilled into a dish of lentils — an “ah HA!” moment occurred (kind of a “you got your chocolate in my peanut butter” situation).
Ta Da! Red Lentil Pasta Sauce!
A quick trip to the store, and the potential became reality. A little smoked paprika — which I just adore with lentils — makes for a rich, scrumptious red lentil pasta sauce that’s particularly warming on sub-freezing January nights.
Red lentil pasta sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup yellow or sweet onion small dice
- 1 rib celery small dice
- 1 small carrot small dice
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup water or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 24 ounces tomato sauce
- salt and pepper
- Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium until shimmering. Add the onion, celery, and carrots, and stir until soft. Add the paprika, tomato paste, and a big pinch of salt to the vegetables. Pour in the water or stock and bring to a simmer. Add the lentils, stir, and cover the pan. Allow the lentils to cook for 20 minutes.
- Pour in the tomato sauce (get every last bit out of the can(s) by adding water, swishing well, and pouring all into the sauce. Heat until bubbling over medium, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
- Serve over pasta, rice, or quinoa.